56 Drops of Blood: Musical about 1956 Hungarian Revolution

The producers of 56 Drops of Blood and key figures of the Hungarian film industry are debating over the issue of whether the musical about the 1956 Hungarian revolution can legally make a run for an Oscar.

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“56 Drops of Blood” is produced by the UCLA-graduate and filmmaker Attila Bokor. When the film won an audience prize at the Los Angeles Hungarian Film Festival in early November, Bokor announced the film would be entered into the Oscar race for best foreign-language film.

The news met with hostile reactions in Hungary on grounds that only a country’s elected film industry bodies can submit Oscar candidates in the foreign-language category.  There was an October 1 deadline for the candidates, and Hungary had already chosen Gyrgy Plfi’s Taxidermia (www.taxidermia.hu) to compete in Hollywood with 62 other movies for the five official nominations in the foreign-language category..

Bokor then changed tactics and said he’ll push his film in the song and acting categories, which any film can qualify for if it’s had a week-long run in a California movie theater. Some suspect Bokor of staging a high-profile media event to promote box-office sales.

56 Drops of Blood was originally staged at an arena in Budapest, and its first print was a recorded version of that performance. The stage play was then extended into a film. It opened in California on Oct. 26 to a single week’s run.

Hungarian feature films earned Oscar nominations in the foreign-language category in the 1970s and 1980s, but Hungarian producers have never previously launched an Oscar campaign endorsing their feature films.